Happy Birthday Hand-washing!

While soap and water is the preferred method, non-conventional ways work just as well, according to Lampe.

While soap and water is the preferred method, non-conventional ways work just as well, according to Lampe.

July 1 is the birthday of Hungarian physician Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis who was an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Thanks to Semmelweis, millions of lives have been saved by practicing and preaching good hand-washing techniques.

There are many times during our busy days that we neglect the small tasks in life, but as pediatrician Richard Lampe, M.D., explains, the chore of washing your hands should become a habit.

The Key to Disease Prevention

“Hand-washing is the single-most important thing that anyone can do to prevent disease,” Lampe said. “Both to prevent catching things and also to prevent transmission of disease to others.”

Bacteria and viruses can be spread easily. Diseases like Hepatitis A, Shigella and meningitis can be prevented by washing your hands. Lampe says that using expensive antibacterial soap isn’t necessary, regular soap will suffice. Also, hand-cleaning products or gels currently on the market that clean your hands without soap and water do just as good of a job as conventional hand-washing. But if you have soap and water available, this is always best.

“Antibacterial soap in a routine household situation is not called for and in fact may be somewhat dangerous. Because there’s some research that indicates too much use of antibiotics and antibacterial chemicals may cause overgrowth of other bacteria and other organisms that are not susceptible to antibiotics,” Lampe said.

Sing While You Clean

Just rinsing does not properly cleanse your hands. Bacteria are still present. So your hands may not be as clean as you think.

“To be as effective as you can in washing your hands, it’s not just the soap you use and the amount of lather you generate it’s the fact that you need to rub your hands together for at least 10 seconds,” he said.

In honor of Semmelweis’ birthday and his discovery of the etiology and prevention of disease through advocating chlorine hand-washing, remember to wash your hands. In fact, singing “Happy Birthday” to yourself while you lather with soap and warm water will ensure you scrub for the proper amount of time.

Related

Put Your Best Face Forward

Avoid the Preventable. Protect Your Prostate.

Beyond Aphasia: Understanding an Unknown Disorder

Related Stories

TTUHSC’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Hosts Student Research Week

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences hosted its 34th Annual Student Research Week March 8-11.

TTUHSC Researcher Receives NIH Grant to Study Vulnerabilities in Specific Cancer Types

The National Cancer Institute awarded a five-year, $1.9 million grant to C. Patrick Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D., director for the School of Medicine Cancer Center at TTUHSC.

The Hype Around Artificial Intelligence

Richard Greenhill, DHA, FISQua, FACHE, discusses the hype and reality surrounding AI in healthcare.

Recent Stories

Education

TTUHSC Class of 2022 Honored at Commencement Ceremonies

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) recently hosted traditional commencement ceremonies for its 1,595-member Class of 2022.

Education

TTUHSC Announces the Julia Jones Matthews School of Population and Public Health

The school, which is the sixth at the university, aims to train future health care leaders in population and public health.

Education

TTUHSC Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy Class of 2022 Honored at Commencement Ceremony

The TTUHSC Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy celebrated the Class of 2022 May 21 with its annual commencement ceremony.